Patients who have diabetes especially need to be sure they take good care of their oral health and see a dentist on a regular basis. Diabetics are more susceptible to certain oral health problems than the average patient, and therefore should practice excellent oral hygiene as well as manage their blood sugar levels.
Here are a few dental care tips for diabetics, courtesy of Dr. Silverman.
Diabetics are at an increased risk for gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease, because diabetes makes it more difficult to fight infection. Untreated gingivitis advances to become periodontitis, which can be problematic for diabetics because the severe infection can raise blood sugar levels.
Various diabetic medications run the risk of causing dry mouth. Why is dry mouth such a big deal when it comes to dental care? You may not know this, but saliva acts as a protector for your teeth and without that protection, you open yourself up to the possibility of more cavities.
Diabetes can limit the body’s ability to heal quickly. We see this in regards to feet and other wounds on the body, but this can also pertain to the mouth, as well. Open wounds and sores in the mouth could turn into an infection if untreated.
Dental Care Tips for Diabetics
Though maintaining good oral health can be more difficult for diabetics, it is certainly possible. Here are some ways diabetics can lower their risk for oral health issues:
Become a dedicated brusher and flosser to remove food particles and acids from your teeth before they can cause tooth decay or gingivitis. Moreso than other patients, you will need to be diligent in your oral hygiene routine.
Keep your blood sugar in control. This benefits your health as a whole, but in particular, it will make you less susceptible to oral health problems.
See your dentist on a regular basis. Many oral health conditions do not present symptoms until they have advanced. Regular visits to the dentist make it easier to keep your oral health in check.
Tell your dentist you are diabetic so that he or she can provide you with the best care possible.
Avoid tobacco! By eliminating smoking and various smokeless tobacco products, you will greatly increase the health of your mouth and create an environment that won’t negatively affect your diabetes.
Clean up your diet. By incorporating lean proteins and plenty of vegetables, you’ll not only assist the normalization of your blood sugar, but your mouth will thank you, as well! Feeling ready for more? Begin including low-impact exercise into your daily regimen. Numerous studies have shown that an early morning or evening walk, for approximately 20-30 minutes, can have a significant influence on your overall health – even your dental health!
There is a strong connection between diabetes and oral health. By maintaining both, diabetic patients can enjoy excellent oral health and prevent serious problems.